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Types of Plant Pests in PA

March 22, 2021

Many homeowners in Pennsylvania have spent a lot of time and money ensuring their landscapes are pristine and healthy. Sometimes, however, certain pests can disrupt or damage those landscapes. Pests can harm both the appearance and health of trees, flowers, shrubs, and any other plant life on properties. Here are some of the various types of plant pests in PA.

2 Major Invasive Species in PA

Two particular plant pests in PA have caused significant damage to residents’ landscapes: the spotted lanternfly and the emerald ash borer. Both of these insects are invasive species originating in Asia. These pests have rapidly spread along the east coast of the United States and are significant threats to Pennsylvania’s plant life.

Spotted Lanternfly

The spotted lanternfly is a plant hopping species first discovered in the U.S. in 2014 that has since spread to many eastern states. These pests have light gray outer wings, black and red inner wings, and black bodies. Spotted lanternflies feed on and damage primarily the ailanthus or “tree of heaven” by sucking the sap from stems, leaves, or trunks and excreting a sugar-rich sticky liquid called “honeydew.” By sucking the fluid from a tree, spotted lanternflies deprive them of nutrients, which can hinder growth and eventually lead to death.

Emerald Ash Borer

Like spotted lanternflies, the emerald ash borer is another invasive species from Asia that has rapidly become one of the major plant pests in PA. This wood-boring beetle has a metallic green body. The beetles feed on ash trees and lay larvae that burrow underneath the bark of ash trees. The larvae feed on the conductive tissue (phloem) inside to cut off nutrients to the tree. Once the larvae become adults, they bore back through the bark and spread to other ash trees.

Spotted lanternflies on tree | plant pests in PA | Burkholder Brothers
Close-up of diseased leaf | plant pests in PA | Burkholder Brothers

Other Plant Pests in PA

Spotted lanternflies and emerald ash borers are 2 of the most significant plant pests in PA due to how quickly both species have spread and caused damage throughout the region. Homeowners should be aware of other pests that can cause issues for their plants and landscaping.

Tree Pests

These pests pose a particular threat to trees in Pennsylvania.

  • Gypsy moths feed primarily on oak leaves but can eat other species of tree leaves, defoliating and hurting trees’ health and appearance.
  • Hemlock woolly adelgid threatens Pennsylvania’s state tree, the eastern hemlock, by sucking sap from the tree, similar to damage by spotted lanternfly.
  • The Asian Longhorned Beetle damages maple, alder, birch, or elm trees, in a manner similar to the way emerald ash borer damages ash trees.

Garden Pests

Other pests target flowers and plants within a landscape, making your gardens or flower beds look unhealthy.

  • Aphids are tiny green insects that feed on leaves and flowers, taking away essential nutrients from plants and making leaves curl and yellow.
  • Magnolia scale feeds on magnolia plants, reducing foliage and flower production, causing twig and branch dieback, and attracting other pests through honeydew.

Contact Burkholder Brothers for Landscaping Services

If you want to keep your landscape safe from plant pests in PA, contact Burkholder Brothers. Burkholder Brothers provides plant health care services and has been maintaining and designing fine landscapes throughout the Main Line area for decades. Our team of experienced and qualified landscape and plant health care professionals can control pests in your landscape and maintain the health and beauty of your property. For more information on our services, contact us today.